World Transplant Games 2019
The 22nd edition of the Summer World Transplant Games (WTG) organised by the World Transplant Games Federation was held from 17th – 23rd August 2019 in Newcastle Gateshead, UK. Close to 2250 athletes from 60 nations competed in the games. The Indian contingent comprised Ms. Reena Raju, Manager and 14 athletes – 11 organ recipients and three donors. The team brought home four gold and three silver medals. We congratulate the winners and all the participants, and Ms. Reena Raju for making India proud!
The World Transplant Games were first held in 1978, in Portsmouth, also in the UK; it had less than 100 participants from only five countries. The World Transplant Games Federation was officially formed in 1987 and now has nearly 70 member countries worldwide. It celebrates successful transplantation ‘powered by the gift of life’ through unique events – namely the Summer and Winter World Transplant Games. The Summer World Transplant Games are held every two years and the Winter Games in the intervening years. The WTG gives recipients the motivation to strive towards full rehabilitation through exercise, camaraderie, and healthy living. They also provide them with a way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who made it all possible – the donors, their families, health care professionals, researchers and carers. Without them, there would be nobody at the starting line…
We share some inspiring stories about the team –
The manager who put her heart and soul into the WTG 2019
She had not planned on even taking up this role because she was suffering from endometriosis, but she found out that the main challenge for the athletes was funding. She approached many associations and institutions, but help was not forthcoming. Finally, Reena decided to don the mantle of manager and raised funds through her own NGO.
Anil Srivatsa calls it his Gift of Protection to his brother when he donated one of his kidneys to him in 2014. Dr. Arjun Srivatsa, a neurosurgeon was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and needed a transplant. He approached his brother Anil and asked him if he could donate a kidney. Anil said while there were questions in his mind about how his family would cope if something were to happen to him and about life with one kidney, but the support from his family and his brother’s need enabled him to make the decision to donate. Seeing his brother getting back to his work as a neurosurgeon and saving lives gave new meaning to his decision. Anil has travelled 85,000 km across 41 countries over 300 days creating awareness about organ donation. Dr. Arjun Srivatsa won gold in Golf, while Anil Srivatsa won gold in ball throw at the WTG 2019.
Ankita Shrivastava from Bhopal is now 25 years old. She was just 21 when she donated a part of her liver to her mother in 2014. Unfortunately, her mother passed away a few months after the transplant. Despite the mental trauma of losing her mother and a physical setback, Ankita started training for the WTG just 12 months later. She won three medals at the WTG 2019 – golds in long jump and ball throw and silver in the 100 m race.
It’s a hat-trick
Balveer Singh, 41, from Lucknow underwent a kidney transplant in 2011. He is the only Indian to have won golds in badminton at the 2015 and 2017 World Transplant Games, and he made it a hat-trick of medals by winning a silver in the same sport this time. He said that he wanted to break the myth that a person is not fit once he or she goes through a transplant.
Digvijay Singh Gujral is from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh and underwent a kidney transplant in 2011. Fitness became his focus after his transplant, he is now a professional bodybuilder. He is a role model for transplant recipients. He won a silver in squash at the WTG 2019.
Love in the time of ‘dialysis’
Kishore Suryawanshi met his wife-tobe Aarti Kashikar while they were both on dialysis awaiting kidney transplantation. Kishore received his kidney from his sister and Aarti from her mother. Kishore is a sprint specialist and this was his first time at the WTG. Kishore also runs an NGO-Chaya Kidney Foundation with his wife to counsel people on transplantation.
Made for each other
Mr Praveen Kumar Rattan, a 49-year-old Senior Accounts officer in the Engineering Department of Chandigarh Administration is a shining example that a person can lead a healthy life after undergoing a major surgery like a liver transplant. Praveen was diagnosed with end-stage liver cirrhosis in December 2010.
He soon started treatment with Dr Arvinder Soin at Medanta – The Medicity who recommended a liver transplant. Praveen’s wife Roopa Arora agreed to be the brave donor and Praveen underwent a transplant on July 05, 2011. Roopa is a government school teacher in Chandigarh. The couple leads a healthy, productive life post the transplant and are an inspiration in many ways.
Praveen and Roopa competed in track and field, race walk and cycling in the 40-49 age category at the WTG 2019. The couple were also the first Indians to participate in the Transplant Games of America in August 2018 where they won medals. Both Praveen and Roopa are thankful to their new lease of life and are keen on ‘giving back’. They are doing their bit by counselling grieved families to consider deceased organ donation and creating awareness amongst people about organ donation. Both of them have also recently finished with their Master in Mass Communication and Journalism and are now pursuing their Masters in Social Work to take forward their passion in promoting organ donation and helping individuals awaiting transplants. The couple had a daughter before the transplant and post the transplant the couple was blessed with a son in 2014. Praveen says, “For me, my hero will always be my wife who gave me this precious gift.”
" The Rattans' is a truly inspiring story. This donor-recipient couple had a baby after the transplant and recently became India's first to participate in the World Transplant Games as a couple! Shows how normal the recipient and donor after a liver transplant!"
- Dr. Arvinder Singh Soin (Chairman, Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine)
Medanta- The Medicity
The other participants at the WTG 2019 were -
• Amar Nath Tanwar, Haryana, Kidney recipient
• Vishnu Nair, Kerala, Kidney recipient
• Karhun Nanda, Haryana, Heart recipient
• Davis Jose Kollannur, Kerala, Double kidney recipient
• Raghavendra Nagaraj, Tamil Nadu, Liver recipient
• Sridhar M.J., Karnataka, Kidney recipient
- Copyright © 2020. Published by MOHAN Foundation
- Keywords: summer world transplant games, organ donors, organ recipients, reena raju, Portsmouth, golf, medals, long jump, indian, role model